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Saturday, March 7, 1998 Published at 09:56 GMT

World: Americas

Dionne quins accept new deal
image: [ The Dionne quins' bitter battle for compensation has ended ]
The Dionne quins' bitter battle for compensation has ended

The three surviving members of a famous set of Canadian quintuplets have accepted a compensation deal for being exploited as children by the Ontario provincial government.

Ontario exhibited the infant quins in front of paying customers during the Great Depression.

The girls, whose birth in 1934 was regarded as a remarkable event, were taken from their parents and paraded at a theme park called "Quintland" for more than a decade.

The province previously justified taking the sisters into care by saying it was to prevent them from exploitation by American promoters.

Annette, Cecile and Yvonne Dionne, now 63, turned down an offer of a yearly pension of $16,000 for life, but have accepted the latest offer of a settlement totalling nearly $3m (£1.7m).

The sisters did not attend the Toronto news conference called by the Ontario government to announce the settlement.

In their absence, they issued a statement expressing relief that the seven-year battle for financial compensation had come to an end.

"On behalf of our family, our children, our grandchildren, we are pleased to accept this offer, which will allow us the dignity of beginning a new chapter in our lives," the statement said.

"As adults we have often felt forgotten. Today, we know you never did forget."

As part of the settlement, there is also to be an investigation into the mishandling of a government-controlled trust fund set aside for the Dionne sisters, which disappeared without trace.

Emile Dionne died in 1954 and Marie passed away in 1970.

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